Women's Water Polo World Cup 2010, Day 6: USA adds FINA World Cup to World and World League crowns

Water Polo World Cup

The United States of America won an incredible game of women’s water polo to secure the FINA World Cup for the first time since 1979 at the QEII Park complex in Christchurch today. The incredible part is that Group B winner Australia, defending its crown won in Tianjin, China, four years ago, went 6-0 down by halftime, stunning the packed arena.

The USA scored three goals in each of the two quarters and totally stymied Australia’s attack. It was a sublime effort by the team that now adds the World Cup to last year’s World title won in Rome and the World League title retained in La Jolla, California last month.

Full credit to the USA for a fantastic tournament, coming from a 7-5 defeat by Australia on day two to win gold, giving Brenda VILLA one of the two gold medals she did not possess. Now it only remains to see if she can make the team and win gold at the 2012 Olympic Games to complete the set.

credit: Russell McKinnon

China earned its first international medal at the senior level with an 11-9 victory over European champion Russia after being 10-5 up at one stage. It was a truly fine performance and sets the team up for a home tilt at the FINA World Championships crown in Shanghai next year.

The play-off for fifth and sixth was a screamer with the game locked at 10-all by full time, 13-all after two periods of extra time, before Canada scored five straight with Hungary missing one and not being called to have its last attempt.

China earned its first international medal at the senior level with an 11-9 victory over European champion Russia after being 10-5 up at one stage.

The play-off for fifth and sixth was a screamer with the game locked at 10-all by full time, 13-all after two periods of extra time, before Canada scored five straight with Hungary missing one and not being called to have its last attempt.

In the play-off for seventh and eighth, Greece withstood an early challenge from New Zealand, swimming away with the game in the middle periods for a 16-8 victory.

Greece swam away with the seventh-place after a close first quarter. In fact New Zealand led three times in that period only to have to level for 4-4 and then feel the might of the team that won the bronze medal at last month’s FINA World League Super Finals in La Jolla, USA. This is how close the competition is that top teams can find themselves playing for lower positions. Antigoni ROUMPESI sent in two bombs for Greece’s third and fourth goals and sat back as her team-mates teemed in goals, winning the middle periods 9-1. Kirsten HUDSON, Alexander BOYD and Danielle LEWIS sparked huge interest in the parochial crowd for the 3-2 lead and LEWIS finished off a three-on-one counter-attack for the 4-4 goal. Alexandra ASIMAKI turned beautifully for her trademark play to set off a four-goal streak with two coming from Triantafylia MANOLIOUDAKI, her first of the tournament. Emma STONEMAN stopped the rot with a dribbling goal that just found the line at 8-5. Christina TSOUKALA closed the half for Greece. The third period was all Greece with Stavroula ANTONAKOU grabbing two more for three in the match. The final quarter showed the real Kiwi spirit with Emily COX and Lynlee SMITH scoring for 14-7. Greece earned two penalty fouls with AVRAMIDOU having her shot blocked by Carina HARACHE while TSOUKALA sent hers in to the left for 15-7. AVRAMIDOU lobbed HARACHE, then New Zealand called a timeout at 1:43 and Shann ELLS-TEWHIU scored her first goal of the event and the last for New Zealand.

credit: Russell McKinnon

Quarters: 4-4, 5-1, 4-0, 3-3
GREECE: Maria TSOURI, Christina TSOUKALA (3), Konstantina KOUTELI, Ilektra PSOUNI, Kyriaki LIOSI (C), Alkisti AVRAMIDOU (3), Alexandra ASIMAKI (1), Antigoni ROUMPESI (2), Angeliki GEROLYMOU (2), Triantafylia MANOLIOUDAKI (2), Stavroula ANTONAKOU (3), ANTONIA SOLANAKI, Eleni KOUVDOU. Head Coach: Georgios MORFESIS.

NEW ZEALAND:  Carina HARACHE, Emily COX (1), Emma STONEMAN (1), Danielle LEWIS (2), Alexandra BOYD (1), Lynlee SMITH (1), Isabella MORRISON, Lauren SIEPRATH, Anna SIEPRATH (C), Casie BOWRY, Kirsten HUDSON (1), Shann ELLS-TEWHIU (1), Dana HARVEY. Head Coach: Eelco URI.

The first penalty shootout game of the tournament produced plenty of zest on the final day with the game finishing 10-10 at fulltime and 13-13 after extra periods. After a feisty first quarter in which eight goals were scored, the teams settled to play out an exciting match. Canada held sway for much of the first quarter but Hungary slugged its way back into the game, gaining its second equaliser early in the third period. Gabriella SZUCS opened the scoring for Hungary but three Canadian goals — two on extra — change the complexion of the game. However, Orsolya TAKACS and Kata MENCZINGER, one on extra and the other from the top, levelled the game. Christine ROBINSON from six metres and Emily CSIKOS off a beautiful cross pass, Barbara BUJKA opened the second quarter from the top and Joelle BEKHAZI sent Canada to 6-4. SZUCS scored her second to turn at 6-5 behind. Captain Rita DRAVUCZ equalised for Hungary with a penalty. Marina RADU on extra, SZUCS with one from the side and then BEKHAZI gave Canada the 8-7 quarter-time lead with a lob on counter down the right. BUJKA smashed in another for 8-8 at the top of the fourth. Rita KESZTHELYI and Krystina ALOGBO traded goals with the latter a superb cross-pass goal on two metres from Dominique PERRAULT. Rosanna TOMIUK lobbed Orsolya KASO for the 10-9 lead. KESZTHELYI sent one in off the far post on extra for 10-10 at 3:28. Both teams tried to break the deadlock and Canada nearly did it on counter inside the last minute but blew the chance. Canada called timeout with just 17 seconds of possession time at 0:29. Tara CAMPBELL’S shot was tipped over, Hungary had a shot blocked by Rachel RIDDELL to force extra time. SZUCS scored her fourth on extra when left completely free on the near post. ALOGBO replied when having to thread through three defenders on extra straight after. KESZTHELYI made it a third extra-man goal with a look-away shot on the deep left to close the first period of extra. PERRAULT scored on extra at the end of the exclusion time for 12-12 at 2:03. There was a double exclusion on Katrina MONTON (CAN) and BUJKA (HUN) when Canada was in possession. ALOGBO turned over the ball but Canada regained soon after. A PERRAULT long shot rebounded and MONTON muscled it out with goalies and defender to pop the ball over the line for 13-12. Then, at the other end, Monika EGGENS gave up a penalty foul for Agnes VALKAI to convert at 0:17. Canada called a timeout but the resulting pass to centre forward was intercepted and Hungary called timeout at 0:03. The ball went to SZUCS but she did not shoot and the game went to penalty shootout. The crowd was excited about the shootout, which went to plan for Canada with five straight. The sole miss was Hungarian captain DRAVUCZ, who has a high temperature and unwell. She hit the right upright, bounced on to RIDDELL’S head and ricocheted right. Hungary had no need to shoot the last shot as Canada had already won the game 18-16.

Quarters: 5-3, 1-2, 2-2, 2-3, 1-2, 2-1.
CANADA: Rachel RIDDELL, Krystina ALOGBO (C 4), Katrina MONTON (1), Emily CSIKOS, (2) Joelle BEKHAZI (4), Whitney GENOWAY, Rosanna TOMIUK (1), Dominique PERRAULT (3), Monika EGGENS (1), Christine ROBINSON (1), Tara CAMPBELL, Marina RADU (1), Marissa JANSSENS. Head Coach: Pat OATEN.

HUNGARY: Orsolya KASO, Hanna KISTELEKI, Rita POSZKOLI, Dora ANTAL, Gabriella SZUCS (4), Orsolya TAKACS (1), Rita DRAVUCZ (C 1), Rita KESZTHELYI (4), Ildiko TOTH, Barbara BUJKA (2), Agnes VALKAI (2), Kiata MENCZINGER (2), Aniko GYONGYOSSY. Head Coach: Matyas PETROVICS.

credit: Russell McKinnon


Matyas PETROVICS (HUN) — Head coach

“It was a very good game. When you think the game is over the other team comes back. This was really good water polo, no wrestling and both teams played water polo, which was good for the public. My team was unbelievable. I am proud of my team. This is very good training for the European Championships. If we play this style we will be top four in Zagreb.”

Rita DRAVUCZ (HUN) — Captain

“We do better every day but today we played very bad. We wanted to win but we couldn’t. I have a stomach illness and a temperature of 37.5 but today I was feeling better. I wanted to play today as I did yesterday. I came here to play, not to watch the games from the tribune.”

For a bronze-medal match it lacked the excitement of the previous encounter but then it was all China from the start. Russia was valiant but China wanted to win a medal for the first time at senior international level. From fifth in the first visit to the FINA Women's Water Polo World Cup in Tianjin four years ago, China was rampant with the two opening goals and 4-1 up three minutes into the second quarter Despite a yellow card to China’s Spanish coach Juan JANE GIRALT, China had a commanding 6-3 lead by halftime. China was comfortable at this stage and looked the likely winner. TENG Fei and LIU Ping made it 8-3 and the oomph seemed to have gone from the contest. Goals were traded for 10-5. Two more were traded in the final minute and China went into the last at 11-6. The last goal came from Nadezda GLYZINA, who repeated the dose straight after the restart. Yulia GAUFLER followed up from outside at 2:31 to narrow the game to 11-8. China called timeout and the shot came from 12 metres. Ion the counter GLYZINA scored her fourth down the right for 11-9, leaving China to waste time for the bronze medal.

Quarters: 31-3, 2-3, 3-5, 3-0
RUSSIA: Evgeniya PROTSENKO, Nadezda GLYZINA (5), Ekaterina PROKOFYEVA (1), Sofya KONUKH (C), Evgeniya PUSTYINNIKOVA, Natalia RYZHOVA-ALENICHEVA (2), Ekaterina TANKEEVA, Evgenia SOBOLEVA, Anna TIMOFEEVA, Olga BELYAEVA, Evgeniya IVANOVA, Yulia GAUFLER (1), Maria KOVTUNOVSKAYA. Head Coach: Alexandr KABANOV.

CHINA: YANG Jun, TENG Fei (2), LIU Ping (2), SUN Yujun (1), HE Jin (1), SUN Yating (1), SONG Donglun, GAO Ao (1), WANG Yi, (1) MA Huanhuan (2), SUN Huizi (C), ZHANG Lei, CHEN Yuan. Head Coach: Juan JANE GIRALT.    


Juan JANE GIRALT (CHN) — Head Coach

“I am happy, happy, happy, happy. We played wonderful for the first three quarters and in the last a little different. It is an important medal for China. This week we only had one loss and that was to the USA yesterday.”

Alexandr KABANOV (RUS) — Head Coach

“In the World Cup there is only one good place and that is first. Second, third, fourth and fifth don’t matter. Our tournament was decided yesterday (losing to Australia in the semifinals). Today it was too hard to lift. There was no stimulation.”

This was a game that the USA won in the opening quarter. At 3-0 up it looked tough for a nervous Australia. The USA drove the nail even further into the coffin with another 3-0 effort in the second. Nicola ZAGAME finally got Australia on to the board when she won the swim, passed off and regained to score at the top of the third. Gemma BEADSWORTH followed up on extra for 6-2. BEADSWORTH had another chance with a penalty shot soon after but put it into Betsy ARMSTRONG’S left hand. The USA was struggling to score also but all the hard work had been done in the first half. The final quarter yielded just the one goal to Aussie Stingers captain Bronwen KNOX before being fouled out. It wasn’t a pretty final but the idea was to win a gold medal and the USA showed with great verve and flair in the first half just what it takes to become a champion and a second title since the inaugural event in 1979. For Brenda VILLA it was the elusive World Cup gold medal she had been wanting to add to her three World and five World League gold medals. Defensively, the USA was far superior to Australia, who left holes for the world champion to capitalise on. This was a supreme effort from a team at the top of its game but the second half was a quantum shift on the first with the USA not finishing off attacks and giving up the ball as Australia swam on counter, some times 10 seconds before the end of the USA attack. Australia was hungry for goals but mis-directed shot, was forced  to shoot into the goalkeeper and the USA just basically held on for the gold medal.

credit: Russell McKinnon

Quarters: 0-3, 0-3, 2-0, 1-0
AUSTRALIA: Victoria BROWN, Gemma BEADSWORTH (1), Sophie SMITH, Holly LINCOLN-SMITH, Jane MORAN, Bronwen KNOX (C 1), Rowena WEBSTER, Glencora RALPH, Zoe ARANCINI, Ashleigh SOUTHERN, Melissa RIPPON, Nicola ZAGAME (1), Lea BARTA. Head Coach: Greg McFADDEN.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Elizabeth ARMSTRONG (C), Anne BELDEN, Brenda VILLA, Margaret STEFFENS (1), Juliet MOSS, Courtney MATHEWSON (1), Lauren SILVER (1), Elsie WINDES (1), Kelly RULON (1), Annika DRIES (1), Kameryn CRAIG, Melissa SEIDEMANN, Emily FEHER. Head Coach: Adam KRIKORIAN.

credit: Russell McKinnon


Adam KRIKORIAN (USA) — Head Coach

“We haven’t done it for 31 years (win this tournament). There have been a lot of great coaches and players before us. We certainly wanted to bring the USA back to the top in this event. We can easily lose to that team at any point. I was very surprised to go out 6-0. We played great defence, especially in the first half. We made it a big emphasis after last week in Sydney. We were going to put in a big effort and it always helps to play a goalkeeper who played just incredible in the final and all week.”

Greg McFADDEN (AUS) — Head Coach

“The Americans came out to do battle and ready to go to war. We were ready to go to bed. You have to question the mental toughness when you leak six goals in a half, especially in a final. The second half, once again, it was a long way but not out of reach. We finally decided to fight and play good water polo. We created plenty of opportunities to win the game."

“Our shot selection was diabolical. Betsy (Armstrong) had a good final but she wasn’t forced to make any spectacular saves, early in the game especially. I was disappointed as the Americans wanted the game more. They were ready to battle and we weren’t.”